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Treatment of menorrhagia with a novel 'frameless' intrauterine levonorgestrel-releasing drug delivery system: a pilot study.

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Contrel Research,Technology Park Zwijnaarde, Ghent, Belgium.



To evaluate the effect on menstrual blood loss of a novel 'frameless' intrauterine drug delivery system, the FibroPlant levonorgestrel intrauterine system (IUS), releasing 14 microg of levonorgestrel/day. An ancillary objective was to evaluate the contraceptive performance.


This was an open-label, non-comparative ongoing pilot study. Thirty-two insertions were performed in fertile women aged between 31 and 51 years for the treatment of menorrhagia, as well as for contraceptive purposes. Fifteen women who developed excessive bleeding were fitted with the FibroPlant levonorgestrel IUS immediately following the removal of a copper-bearing intrauterine device (IUD), the GyneFix IUD. To discriminate between menorrhagia and normal menstrual blood loss, women were evaluated using a simple visual assessment technique. The trial covered a period from a minimum of 1 month up to 23 months.


At the time of study analysis, the total number of woman-months was 361. Fourteen of the women had had the FibroPlant levonorgestrel IUS in place for more than 1 year, and 29 women for 6 months or more. All women reported greatly reduced bleeding. However, no cases of amenorrhea resulting from endometrial suppression were encountered. The reduction of bleeding was substantial after 1 month of treatment and decreased further over the next months to remain stable thereafter. The mean bleeding score before treatment was 338 (range 185-740) in the group who had had no prior use of an IUD and 368 (range 185-890) in the group with prior IUD use. The mean bleeding score dropped to a mean score of 70 (range 5-210) in the 'no prior IUD use' group and to a mean score of 52 (range 3-150) in the 'prior IUD use' group, after 1-23 months of follow-up. This result is highly statistically significant (p < 0.001). There were no statistical differences in bleeding scores before and during treatment between the two groups of women, with or without prior use of the copper IUD. Significant spotting was rare after the first 3 months following insertion. No complications (e.g. infection, expulsion or perforation) or pregnancies occurred. The FibroPlant levonorgestrel IUS was well tolerated by all women involved in the study and no systemic hormonal side-effects were reported.


The FibroPlant levonorgestrel IUS is effective in significantly reducing the amount of menstrual blood loss in women with menorrhagia. Strong endometrial suppression is the principal mechanism explaining both the effect on menstrual blood loss and the contraceptive performance of the IUS. There were no differences in bleeding scores before and during treatment between the two groups of women with or without prior use of the copper IUD, suggesting that the development of heavy bleeding was not related to the use ofthe IUD. The therapeutic effect of this contraceptive method is highly desirable, particularly in women with heavy bleeding or anemia in developing countries, as other treatment modalities are less effective, more costly, more invasive or inaccessible. The low daily release rate of levonorgestrel from the FibroPlant levonorgestrel IUS results in a low incidence of hormonal side-effects and reduces the likelihood of amenorrhea. The simple design characteristics and revolutionary anchoring system minimize the occurrence of complaints of pain and the incidence of expulsion.

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